This is why every organization needs a mission and vision

12/10/2018 - Philip van Kemenade

Your organization cannot do without a mission and a vision. They express the right of your organization to exist and help you determine the direction to head to. Your mission explains what your organization stands for and what contribution you make to society. The vision gives effect to the mission in practice; the vision explains what you want to achieve as an organization. Together, the mission and vision are essential for providing direction to the organization.

Formulate a mission

The mission forms the foundation of the organization. The motives of the founder are often decisive for the mission. The founder started the company once to pursue a certain dream or to achieve a certain goal. The mission is permanent. A good mission is integrated throughout the organization and supported by all employees. Everyone knows the primary drive to work hard for the organization every day.

The following questions can help you formulate a mission for your organization:

-   What do we stand for?
-   What is the reason for our existence?
-   What is our primary motivator?

Answering these questions brings you to the essence of your organization and therefore the mission.

Formulate a vision

In the vision you express what you want to achieve with your organization. Where the mission is built on the past, the vision is focused on the future. The vision expresses what makes your organization unique compared to the competition and it provides direction for the future. It tells you what you are going to do and why. Unlike the mission, the vision is subject to change. Due to trends in your industry, at your customers or in society, it may be necessary to refine the vision.

These questions help you formulate a vision:

-   What developments are going on in our industry and at our customers?
-   What do we want to achieve in the long term?
-   How are we going to realize our ambitions?

Why do you need a mission and a vision?

1. It gives clarity to the employees what you are working towards together:

The mission and vision provide guidance. That is especially important in difficult situations. As long as you all understand the essence of the organization's existence and keep a common goal in mind, you can endure the most difficult situations.

2. It helps you to make decisions:

You can test every decision against the mission and the vision. For example, new business plans, strategic choices or new employees. Is your decision in line with the shared convictions and core values?

3. It gives customers the confidence that you know what you are doing:

No matter which industry you operate in, your customers must have the confidence that your organization is heading in a clear direction. The mission and vision help you to determine the right direction.

Although a mission and vision initially might come over as vague and theoretical concepts, they actually contribute to giving direction to your organization. A clear mission and vision that are widely supported make it easier to take decisions and manage where necessary.

Philip van Kemenade is marketing manager at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.

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